Shaolin Chin-Na

Single tiger Emerges from Cave


Can Sifu please elaborate on the three points of time in countering a chin-na attack that are incorporated in each of the 72 chin-na sequences?

Also, is the point of time when the grip/hold is already applied usually too late for countering, unless the responder has at least as much internal force (for protection) as the initiator?

Sifu Leonard Lackinger


It may be helpful to make a difference between countering and defending. In defending, we just defend against an attack without countering. In countering, we counter-attack an opponent with or without defending.

Let us take a simple example of “Black Tiger Steals Heart” as an attack, and “Single Tiger Emerges from Cave” as a defence as well as a counter.

The three points of time in defending and in countering any attack are when the attack is at an initial stage, at an intermediate stage, and at a final stage.

As soon as an opponent initiates his attack, we ward it off using “Single Tiger Emerges from Cave”. This defence is at the initial stage. Or we may let the attack proceed a short time before we ward it off. This defence is at the intermediate stage. We may also let the attack completes it course, and then ward it off. This defence is at the final stage.

Please note that the attack cannot reach us even when we allow it to continue to its end because we have sunk back to a False-Leg Stance as we make our concluding defence.

We may also use “Single Tiger Emerges from Cave” as a counter instead of just a defence. As we ward off the attack, we simultaneously or immediately grip the opponent’s energy points. We can counter at the initial stage, intermediate stage or final stage.

We can grip the opponent’s energy points at any place on his attacking arm, but it will be effective to grip at his upper arm at the initial stage, his elbow at the intermediate stage, and at his wrist at the final stage.

Let us now take “Single Tiger Emerges from Cave” as a chin-na attack. If an opponent uses this chin-na technique on us, irrespective of whether it is a counter-attack against our initial punch or an independent attack by itself, we can counter at three points of time.

As soon as an opponent reaches out his hand to grip us, we strike his hand using a hanging fist, like “Reverse Hanging of Golden Lotus”. This is an initial counter.

Or we may let his attack proceed for a short time, then grip his elbow from below, using “White Tiger Presents Claws”. This is an intermediate counter.

We may move back to a False-Leg Stance and allow the attack to conclude, then we grip his fingers and bend them, using “Jade Girl Plucks Flower”.

Kungfu terms are used provisionally for convenience. They are not definitive like scientific terms. Hence, we may interpret the three points of time in countering in another way.

We shall begin the interpretation of the opponent’s attack, like “Single Tiger Emerges from Cave”, when it is about to grip our upper arm, elbow, wrist or any part of our body. In this case, the initial stage is when the attack is about to reach us, the intermediate stage is when it makes contact, and the final stage is when the grip is applied. This is probably the interpretation you mean.

To simplify the examples, let us presume that an opponent uses his right tiger claw to grip our right wrist. At the initial stage, we can use a circular hand to escape or to counter-grip his tiger claw. We can also use the circular hand to escape or counter-grip at the initial stage.

At the final stage, if we are very powerful or the opponent is just beginning to apply his grip, we can still use the circular hand. But if we are not powerful enough, or his grip has deepened into our wrist, the circular hand technique will not be suitable. It may result in more damage to our wrist.

But we can still counter it. Use your left thumb to press on the "tiger-mouth" of his grip. The "tiger-mouth" is located at a small triangular piece at the base between the thumb and the index finger. Pressing at his “tiger-mouth” will cause his some pain. If it is not feasible to press on his "tiger-mouth", kick at his shin with your toes if you are wearing shoes, or kick at his lower leg with your foot, or pretend to jab into his eyes. Immediately grip any of his fingers and bend it backward. This will cause him to release his tiger-claw grip.

Even at the final stage, when the grip is already applied, and when the responder is not as powerful as the initiator, the responder can still counter – if he knows how. This is one of the beauties of Shaolin Kungfu. There are no attacks that cannot be overcome!

If an opponent has twisted your arm to your back, for example, you can counter with “Dong Pin Draws Sword”. If he has gripped your leg, you can counter with “Fierce Tiger Springs Claws”. If he has gripped your head to tear it off, you can counter with “Big Boss Removes Helmet”.

Shaolin Chin-Na

Big Boss Removes Helmet

The questions and answers are reproduced from the thread 10 Questions on the 72 Shaolin Arts in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.